Wednesday, 17 May 2017
Fractured Fairy Tales
As our society becomes more multicultural I wonder whether stories from other cultures are becoming more widely known in schools? Certainly when I've approached publishers about exploring traditional tales from other cultures, I've generally been met with the "there's not a big enough market," sort of comment, which I find rather disappointing and hard to believe.
I've written a few myself - all published by Nosy Crow, each of which challenges some aspect of the traditional fairy tale world. In my books I like to subvert traditionally gender-specific roles and challenge the central premise of many fairy tales that princesses are pathetic and need rescuing and that anything different is bad and must be thwarted as quickly as possible. My princesses do not dream of marriage and the happy ever after. They are brave and feisty and independent - as any self-respecting girl should be!
Mumswrite, has written a very interesting blog about the emergence of fractured fairy tales in children's literature. She interviews me, Jonathan Emmett and Leigh Hodgkinson in a very thought-provoking article. Have a read of it here.
For anyone who is interested in such things, it's also very enlightening to read the original versions of these stories, recorded by the Grimm Brothers and others. Many are very different to the stories we know today and FAR more gruesome!
So if you have some spare time, pick up a fairy tale and have a go and re-writing it yourself!
Here's a fun activity to get you going:
Visit the Activities and Downloads section of my website and print out a copy of the Traditional Tales Grid.
Cut out the images and place them face-down on the table. Pick one square at random. This is the start of your story. Then pick 4 more squares and see if you can create a fairy tale-ish kind of story as you go along. It's a great game to play with kids.
I will be playing a live version of this game at the Wychwood Festival in Cheltenham on Friday 2 June so do come along and have some fun!